Amaury Pierron’s Commencal 29”
Words and Images by Steven Jones and Nico Brizin
Back in March when I rode the prototype Trek 29” downhill bike in the hills east of Los Angeles I had little doubt that the big wheels would be a key part of the unfolding story of the World Cup season. A visit to Intense backed this up as Jeff Steber said it was finally time that the sport embraced a wheel size that holds solid evidence of the speed advantage.
In the off-season Santa Cruz had cobbled together a pretty workmanlike looking V10 with 29” wheels and in doing so rattled a few cages. In truth the 29” beast had bolted many years before Santa Cruz started shouting. Lourdes was a stir but downhill being downhill it seemed many riders were not prepared to cuddle up to a ride that had offered less fatigue. Roughing it was the way of the racer. And anyhow most brands had been caught napping.
At Lourdes it happened, the qualifier at least. Three 29” bikes in the top five from which point the pits had suddenly gained acceptance or seemed compelled into the way of the larger wheel. By Fort William Danny Hart had a Mondraker shod with 29” wheels and Commencal…..well it seemed they’d prepared for the swap already.